Haiti 2022

Written by  //  December 1, 2022  //  Americas, Government & Governance  //  No comments

Haiti Needs Help
Foreign Troops Might Be the Least Bad Option
By Renata Segura
(Foreign Affairs) In Haiti, violence, hunger, and cholera threaten to kill thousands of people. As conditions grow ever more dire, gangs are preventing humanitarian assistance from reaching those on the brink of death. A record 4.7 million people face acute hunger and almost 20,000 people are enduring “catastrophic hunger,” meaning they are at risk of starving to death, according to an October report from the UN World Food Program and the Food and Agriculture Organization. Those in greatest danger live in Cité Soleil, the largest slum in the country’s capital, Port-au-Prince, and home to about 260,000 people. The area is controlled by gangs; for the past six months, lawlessness and violence have made it nearly impossible for urgent humanitarian assistance to reach those most in need.
Fighting between rival gangs for the control of roads leading to the capital caused close to 500 deaths over the summer.
The violence and instability have also created conditions for cholera to make a deadly comeback.
Samuel Madistin, the president of the Je Klere foundation, a civil society organization in Port-au-Prince,“People often don’t ask the right questions. Whether one is for or against foreign military intervention in the country is not the right question. For us, the question is whether today Haiti has crossed the threshold of the duty to interfere. We think so.”
… diplomats in New York started discussing the possibility of sending military support to the Haitian police in July and a UN mission to assess needs visited the country soon thereafter. Following Henry’s formal request for international military assistance in early October, UN Secretary General António Guterres endorsed the proposal in a letter to the UN Security Council, where it was later discussed at the request of Mexico and the United States. Those two countries also drafted a resolution establishing sanctions against gang leaders and their sponsors, including an asset freeze, a travel ban, and an arms embargo. The Security Council unanimously adopted it on October 21. Another draft resolution, which so far has not been sent to the whole Security Council, proposes the creation of a multinational force that would operate with the blessing, but not under the mandate, of the UN.
… what causes anguish to the mission’s potential foreign backers and contributors, as well as to Haitians who support it, is not whether there is a case for intervention but whether the conditions are in place for anything more than a fleeting success followed by a return to today’s dangerous conditions, or worse.

23 November
Why there’s absolutely no way Canada could pull off a military intervention in Haiti
Tristin Hopper
The entire Canadian Army could provide just 11,000 front-line soldiers, roughly the same amount of personnel as the Toronto Police
(National Post) With their country increasingly overrun by gangs, Haiti’s political leaders are now calling for a foreign military intervention to restore order in the Caribbean nation. … But with the Canadian military plagued by critical shortages of almost everything as well as one of the worst staffing crises in its history, there are almost no circumstances in which it would be even remotely possible to mount a friendly invasion of Haiti.
Just last month, chief of defence staff Gen. Wayne Eyre ordered a halt to all non-essential activities within the Canadian Armed Forces in order to address a staffing shortage that senior officers are now referring to as a “crisis.”
And that’s in addition to Canada’s usual deficiencies in kit and logistics. For one, the Canadian military is unique among G7 nations for having no amphibious capability, which might be a factor in its ability to supply and equip an expeditionary force stationed on a Caribbean island.
In the 1990s it took a U.S. force of 25,000 to conduct Operation Uphold Democracy, a UN-sanctioned mission to reverse a military overthrow of Haiti’s elected government.
Haiti is only five years removed from the last time that foreign boots were on its soil. From 2004 to 2017, the country was host to Operation MINUSTAH, a Brazilian-led UN peacekeeping mission that comprised roughly 5,000 soldiers and police, as well as civilian staff.
Notably, MINUSTAH was originally planned to last just six months, but ended up lasting for 13 years. It’s also remembered chiefly for the harms it inflicted on Haiti, including a deadly cholera outbreak and large numbers of illegitimate children left behind by deployed peacekeepers.

20 November
Haitian leaders must all agree before Canada would lead a potential military intervention, Trudeau says
U.S. has suggested Canada could lead a multinational force in Haiti
(CBC) A potential Canadian military intervention in Haiti can’t happen unless all political parties in the troubled nation agree to it, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Sunday.
Speaking from Tunisia on the final day of the two-day Francophonie summit, Trudeau announced $16.5 million to help stabilize Haiti, where gangs are strangling access to fuel and critical supplies amid a worsening cholera outbreak.
About half the money is going toward humanitarian aid, and some of the rest is intended to help weed out corruption and prosecute gender-based violence.
But Haiti’s government has asked for an international military intervention to combat gangs who have strangled access to fuel and critical supplies in the middle of the outbreak.

27 October
‘Haiti needs us’: Canada, U.S. pledge action as gangs strengthen their grip on the island nation
(CBC) U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Foreign Affairs Minister Mélanie Joly promised Thursday that the two countries will do something about the deteriorating situation in Haiti — a country in a state of anarchy as it grapples with marauding gangs, food and fuel shortages and a resurgence of cholera.
What exactly the two countries have planned for the poorest country in the Western hemisphere wasn’t revealed today — but it could include some sort of intervention by police and military personnel.
Haiti’s current leaders have called for foreign support to restore a semblance of stability to the chaotic country.
Haitian Prime Minister Ariel Henry has said he wants a “specialized armed force” to assist Haitian police in countering anti-government gangs.
Speaking to reporters at a press conference after meeting Joly in Ottawa, Blinken said the U.S. and its allies are assembling a coalition of willing nations to provide “contributions of personnel and equipment for a potential mission” to the island nation.

15 October
After armoured vehicles from Canada land in Port-au-Prince, here’s a look at Haiti’s latest security crisis
(CBC) Foreign military aid requested by Haiti’s beleaguered government has arrived in the Caribbean country — including armoured vehicles from Canada — as a security crisis intensifies.
Armed gangs have been blockading Haiti’s main port since last month following a move by Ariel Henry, Haiti’s unelected prime minister, to cut fuel subsidies.
Kidnappings and other crimes are rife; hospitals and banks are often closed as they are unable to access fuel and basic supplies.
Haiti’s government has appealed for military intervention from foreign troops to help quell the violence and end the fuel blockade. The United Nations Security Council could discuss that proposal on Monday.
How did Haiti get to this point?
Pinpointing the beginning of the most recent round of unrest is not simple; Haiti has been suffering from economic, governance and security challenges for decades.
“What’s going on now is not new,” Chantal Ismé from the Montreal-based group Maison d’Haïti told CBC’s The National.
Some analysts say the power of the gangs has grown since the July 2021 assassination of President Jovenel Moïse, exacerbating previous political and security challenges.
Who are the gangsters behind recent unrest?
Led by former police officer Jimmy Chérizier, nicknamed Barbecue, the port blockade has been organized by an alliance of gangsters known as “G9 and Family.”
After overpowering an understaffed and under-resourced police department, the gangs have gone so far as to request seats in the governing cabinet, demanding that Henry’s government grant amnesty and void arrest warrants against their members.
The gangs use extortion, violence and rape to control territory, particularly in Haiti’s poorest slums, observers say. Helen La Lime, the top UN official in Haiti, told reporters that human rights abuses including rape and sexual assault have reached alarming levels.

12 October
Canada ‘carefully considering’ pleas for help from Haiti
Caribbean country facing gang blockade of fuel terminal, shortages, high crime and cholera outbreak

7 October
Haiti’s leader requests foreign armed forces to quell chaos
(AP) — Haiti’s government has agreed to request the help of international troops as gangs and protesters paralyze the country and supplies of water, fuel and basic goods dwindle, according to a document published Friday.
The document, signed by Prime Minister Ariel Henry and 18 top-ranking officials, states that they are alarmed by “the risk of a major humanitarian crisis” that is threatening the life of many people.
It authorizes Henry to request from international partners “the immediate deployment of a specialized armed force, in sufficient quantity,” to stop the crisis across the country caused partly by the “criminal actions of armed gangs.”
It wasn’t clear if the request had been formally submitted, to whom it would be submitted and whether it would mean the activation of United Nations peacekeeping troops, whose mission ended five years ago after a troubled 11 years in Haiti.

22 September
As gang violence consumes Haiti, donor nations — Canada included — seem reluctant to get involved
‘The gangs are even occupying the courthouse’ — Bob Rae
Dozens of people, including women and children, have been killed in recent weeks amid new clashes between gangs fighting over territory as their power grows following the July 7 assassination of President Jovenel Moïse.
Haiti has been lurching from crisis to crisis for a long time. But at no point in the recent past — perhaps not since the immediate aftermath of the 2010 earthquake — has the country’s plight seemed so hopeless to so many of its people as it does today.
Caribbean leaders, traditionally opposed to outside interventions, are facing an influx of Haitian boat people fleeing what Bahamian PM Philip Davis calls “a failed state.”
The Dominican Republic has deployed its army to the border with Haiti to prevent spillover from what its president Luis Abinader calls a “low-intensity civil war.”
Bob Rae, Canada’s ambassador to the UN, visited the country recently. He told CBC News that he found “the gangs have taken control of much of Port-au-Prince. The gangs are even occupying the courthouse.”
Canada’s embattled diplomats in Haiti, under ambassador Sébastien Carrière, are sheltering in place at home as it is no longer safe to travel the streets of Port-au-Prince.
Canada’s human security presence in Haiti has dwindled to almost nothing. A nation that once had over 2,000 military personnel in its Joint Task Force Haiti, as well as about 100 police officers, now has just two RCMP officers in the whole country.
And despite the foreign security funding, the gangs have been gaining ground since last year — when Haitian President Jovenel Moïse was assassinated in his own bedroom.

22 May
Investigating Haiti’s ‘Double Debt’
For a new five-part investigation, a team of Times journalists tabulated the amount that Haitians had to pay France for their freedom and explored how the massive sum still affects Haiti today.
More than 200 years ago, enslaved Haitians successfully revolted against their French masters and declared themselves free. Two decades later, the French government demanded Haitians pay reparations to former slave masters, under the threat of war. Without the funds to pay, Haitians had to take out a loan from French banks. This would come to be known as the “double debt,” and is part of the reason Haiti is one of the poorest countries in the world today.
Times journalists spent more than a year sifting through thousands of pages of archival papers, ledgers and correspondences to calculate the exact amount that Haiti paid France: $560 million in today’s dollars. Leading historians, who assessed the work done by The Times, said it is the first time this amount has been tabulated. Further estimates by The Times found that the double debt cost Haiti from $21 billion to $115 billion in lost economic growth over time.
Finding out who benefited, and who suffered, was not the only goal. “The bigger question at the end was what did it mean,” said Catherine Porter, an international correspondent who has covered Haiti since the 2010 earthquake. “How did it hamper the development of the country?”
The concept grew out of Ms. Porter’s initial investigations into the debt in 2020, and a conversation with Michael Slackman, The Times’s assistant managing editor for international news. They wanted to know what factors had made Haiti such an outlier in terms of its extreme poverty and corruption.
The Ransom
The Root of Haiti’s Misery: Reparations to Enslavers
The Ransom: A Look Under the Hood
Thousands of pages of original documents, and hundreds of books and articles. Here are the historians and researchers on which the Haiti project drew.
6 Takeaways About Haiti’s Reparations to France
How did the modern world’s most successful slave revolt give birth to a desperately poor nation? Here is a summary of what a team of New York Times correspondents found out.

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